Monster Raving Loony party seeks new sponsor

The future of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party is under threat after it lost a financial backer

The Official Monster Raving Loony Party is looking for a new financial backer after bookmakers' William Hill pulled the plug on its sponsorship.

Leader Alan "Laud Howling" Hope said while the party was "not in dire trouble", the injection of cash had paid for its 2010 election campaign.

Over the years the party has campaigned for pet passports, 24-hour drinking in pubs and votes for under 21s.

Mr Hope told the BBC's Daily Politics the loonies still had "a big future".

William Hill's Graham Sharpe told the same programme the bookmakers had supported the party for "a long, long time" and was now looking to use its sponsorship elsewhere.

'Serious business'

Mr Hope conceded that the party did "need some younger people coming in", but rejected suggestions it had failed to move with the times.

The Official Monster Raving Loony Party was founded by Screaming Lord Sutch - real name David Sutch - in 1982. He had stood under a variety of banners before, but stood as an official loony candidate for the first time a year later, in the General Election against Margaret Thatcher in Finchley.

By the time he died in 1999 the party had become a feature of by-elections. At general elections its manifestos have included a wide range of policies, including some serious ones - such as the removal of National Insurance contributions ceiling.

Other policies were less serious, such as the 1992 Car Pet Tax - "All forms of fluffy dice, Garfield the Cat and other window devices, other than road tax, will be subject to the Punitive Licensing of Non-Kinetic Essential Road Sundry (P.L.O.N.K.E.R.S.) Tax."

Former Labour home secretary Charles Clarke said he would not miss the party if it was unable to continue.

"I suppose I'm rather boring and po-faced - I do think politics is a serious business," he said.

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